Delving into the 2nd dimension of sandbox gameplay…

For years now I’ve had a healthy addiction to Minecraft, even going as far as developing my own mods for the game.  Still, night after night, collecting resources, building, fighting, etc… in the nearly infinite sandbox world eventually grew repetitive and tiresome.  That put me on the search for something new to whet my sandbox style appetites, and with that in mind I’m hoping to build a fairly complete list of what I’ve played so far as well as a brief review of what I think is worth playing.

Terraria: terraria2As of last week, my primary addiction was Terraria.  I picked it up for my PC via Steam for $2.50.  It has all of the boxes checked as far as feeding my addition… mining, crafting, fighting, etc… The worlds range from small to massive with a massive inventory of items to create and quite possibly the best lighting I’ve ever seen in a sandbox style game.  One of the best aspects of this game are the number of bosses and enemies, and that defeating bosses such as the ominous sounding “Wall of Flesh” will reshape your entire world and provide a whole new set of challenges to face.

Junk Jack:


This game is in the same vein as Terraria, but only available on iOS for $2.99 I believe.  It has some IAP options, but nothing necessary to actually play and enjoy the game.  It also provides large open worlds with copious amounts of crafting and exploration options.  Enemies are fairly diverse and provide even more resources for crafting.  The worlds aren’t as large as what you’d find on Terraria, but there are many different biomes available which always keep things interesting.



My first experience with 2D sandbox games, also only available on iOS, it follows a traditional ‘pay to play’ model.  Crafting options are much more limited than either Terraria or Junk Jack and my biggest gripe with the game is the general requirement of IAP (In App Purchases) in order to progress through the game and accomplish anything before the next generation iPad arrives.  The graphics are done very well and I also enjoy the ability to queue several actions, but there aren’t any threats in the game besides the environment (ie, gravity and lava if you go deep enough).  It has potential, but this one is strictly about mining, crafting, and if you want to do anything really cool – paying.



This was a game that sucked me in quick, sucked some cash out of my pocket (the basic worlds are free, but if you want premium access as well as better tools and resources, be prepared to perform some IAP’s).  Constructed in a “steampunk” open world, there are a handful of enemies and while it offers a fairly large amount of resources to craft with – what you can craft in the end is also pretty limited.  Every world starts out polluted, and in order to purify it and create life the player must defeat dungeons teaming with insanely overpowered boss characters.  Most worlds are generally harvested by their player base and stripped clean with very little consideration for actually purifying the worlds.  I dropped $10 on my own private world to collect resources from, as well as another $30 in IAP points to upgrade my available tools.  It’s not something I do on a regular basis (I blame the tax refund).  It’s fairly fun to play and offers PVP, but overall needs a lot more content.

Epic Inventor:


I’ve only played about an hour into this game so far.  The control and crafting setup is pretty cumbersome.  You start out with an open world and a robot sidekick that can both defend you as well as provide some advanced transportation options.  Resources are gathered by holding down a keyboard key and the duration of collecting the resource is determined by the level of the tool you use.  Graphics are much simpler than Terraria, and so far I do not see any real options as far as being able to “dig” your own world.  The biggest problem that I had was the crafting interface as there are MANY crafting options and even with the ability to filter down a specific type of item to craft, you’re limited by a single line side-scrolling selection of what to craft.  I need to spend some more time in game to see if it’s worth even a temporary addiction, but so far it hasn’t really hooked me.



Honestly I logged in to this game for about 5 minutes then logged right back out.  I’m going to give it another shot but the graphics were seemed dated and I didn’t quite grasp the controls right away.  There are both free and paid versions of the game.

That’s pretty much my top list as far as your “traditional” 2D sandbox style games that I’ve played through so far.  Up next? 2d drilling and resource collection titles. 🙂

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